Monday, May 26, 2008

the most epic last night of anyone's study abroad ever

As Jess, Rachel, and I left 128 Fuencarral to head towards dinner we had no definite plans for what would follow. The rain was bumming us out, I was still not packed, and Jess and I were trying to resolve our very mixed emotions about leaving the next morning. Dinner at Ginger was perfect, good food and good atmosphere. Two hours and two bottles of wine later going home was simply no longer an option. Instead, I spidey-sensed us to a flamenco bar near Plaza Mayor where we obviously sat in the VIP section. We hung around for a bit, sipping on glasses of sangria and watching the male flamenco dancers love their lives, before walking through Plaza Mayor towards Sol. For some reason I decided that we needed to go to Joy so after dropping "Drika's list" and sweet talking the bouncers we were able to skip the line and go in for gratis. The three of us bee-lined straight to the not so crowded dance floor where we took over and soon attracted quite a crowd. After helping a group of guys celebrate a bachelor party we exited and headed towards Madrid's statue of the bear and the tree. With some help from strangers, we were able to get up on the statue and cuddle our osito. Within twenty seconds various groups of people stopped to snap some pictures of us and two randos got up on the statue as well. After posing for a few minutes, some policia pulled up with their sirens on prompting us to jump six feet to the ground, grab our various belongings and scream "RUN!!!!" as if what was happening were the most epic event in history. We caught a cab on Gran Via and piled into it in a fit of giggles. Content with the events of our perfectly Madrileno night, we headed home. The next morning was spent trying to shove my belongings into my suitcases while arguing with Miguel about weight limits. I ended up having to trade Maggie my medium suitcase for her extra large one so that everything could fit. After all the bags were zipped we said some teary goodbyes, Maggie and Miguel helped me into a cab, and I took in some of my last sights of Madrid on my way to the airport. Jess and I went a little crazy with the shopping, determined to spend the last of our euros (and maybe charge some things biggie), and were called for boarding before we knew it. The flight was smooth, Jess ate the majority of both of our meals, while I was all about the "mas pan?" When we touched down in JFK, we did a double high five, followed by a hug, both of which drew some strange looks from our fellow passengers. After customs and baggage we walked through the doors into the arms of our fans (aka parents), parted ways, and now we're home!

queens of the dance floor

i love you Osito!!

not even messing around

goodbye familia :(

Miguel trying to act like he's not crying

omg we're home!!

last weekish in madrid

Last GNO :(
dinner at Gloria de Montera, drinks at the Terrace bar (but not on the Terrace), and hugs, tears, and goodbyes in front of McDonalds with various homeless men

Jess turns 21!! cuppies galore.

last weekend trip to Mallorca

loving life, obvs

free fifth row tickets to real madrid vs levante
this picture was taken after one of our various goals :)

Monday, May 19, 2008


1. my computer's power cord broke which means
2. i don't have a computer and
3. i'm forced to use the ones at my school or maggie's or miguel's and
4. i'm having trouble writing my two papers that are due tomorrow but
5. i changed my flight to the 24th so
6. i'm going home on saturday!! which is good because
7. i now live in the living room of my homestay but at least
8. it has a giant tv in it where
9. i watched Amelie with Maggie and Maria Rosa the other night after
10. jess and i ate gloria the night after
11. we saw Elegy and
12. the man working at the movie theater loves his job just like
13. the two guys i met last night who work for Levante who
14. gave Maggie, Judith and I three free tickets to last night's game against Madrid and
15. we got to sit in the fifth row and
16. there's construction outside that woke me up at 830 am but at least
17. i think i finished draft 1 of my paper and so
18. i guess i'll edit it and made draft 2 now and
19. if i don't have two packages waiting for me at instituto....
20. correos better watch their backs.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

the one month countdown has begun

In 26 days I will be boarding a flight from Madrid to New York. But before I touch down on American soil here's my to-do list:
  • two final exams
  • two econ tests
  • four page paper
  • fifteen page group paper
  • group presentation
  • eight hours with Frida
  • three Sunday mornings at Rastro
  • nine yoga classes
  • at least one final trip to the museum trio
  • three days in Mallorca
  • learn how to make Maggie's sauce
  • Topshop (I still haven't been!)
  • attempt to waken the Cookie Nuns again
  • buy pillowcases from NaturHouse for cuddlegan
  • take some film pictures
And once I do land back in the States here's my immediate to-do list:
  • cuddle Isabelle, then the dogs, and maybe Lizzie
  • hide under my down comforter
  • do lots of laundry so I can use a dryer
  • Charmanda
  • plan a sorgz reunion
  • see my Cheetahs
  • text Bretty
  • make my Mom make me dinner (I'm thinking grilled salmon, asparagus, and mashed potatoes...)
  • go to the grocery store and binge on baby goldfish, REAL diet coke, and non-Spanish almonds
  • go to Starbucks and reintroduce sugar-free vanilla syrup to my system
  • manicure and pedicure
  • speak A LOT of English
  • see if I remember how to drive
  • try to contact Stina on a cowboy farm
And, since we're in a listy mood, things I'm excited for this summy:
  • living with Dana!
  • getting back into my usual baking habits (aka at least 2 batches of cuppies a week)
  • adventures with Charlotte and graham cracker crusted cupcakes
  • finding fabric to make pillowcases for my bed and curtains for Hogan 3C4 :)
  • pancakes and garage sales with Gram
  • trips to Target with Robbie
  • lunching with Jess at Conde Nast and reminiscing about Spain
  • texting Bretty
  • cheetahs every day
  • weekends at Naisy's
  • trips to the pool with Dad, Carolann, and Scoob
  • 1020
  • keeping in touch with and seeing my Madrid lovies
  • Mexico in August and my 21st birthday
And lastly, two orders of business:
I've done it again!

and I bought a flower

That is all!

Monday, April 28, 2008


slight excitement on the beach

dad gets some sweet air


scoob casts a shadow in Plaza Mayor

just me and my needs to work on the timing



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Denia, Benidorm, and Guadalest

After a quick bite to eat, my family piled into our rental car (relatively) early on Saturday morning. Destination: Denia, a small Mediterranean town between Valencia and Alicante on Spain’s eastern coast. Though Robbie and I napped through most of the four hour drive, I did catch some sights of the Spanish countryside while opening my eyes temporarily to adjust my position. We arrived at our hotel around 2pm and promptly headed to the pool after dropping our bags. Although the temperature was a bit lower and the wind a bit stronger than we had hoped for, we were able to relax for a bit and soak up the sun while Robbie ran in circles around the pool which he claimed was “48 meters deep.” After our quick stint at the pool, we decided to explore the town a bit and get some lunch. We ended up eating at a small Italian restaurant by Denia’s port and later browsed the area’s small shops and stands. Dad drove us along the coast and we stopped at a small rocky beach to dip our toes in the Mediterranean and snap some photos of the amazing view. With the beach now on our mind, we drove a bit to a sandy beach where two brave souls were swimming. Robbie and I chose to join them and quickly shed our tshirts and cautiously made our way into the freezing water. After having a mini dance party to keep warm, we both submerged ourselves and promptly made our way to the shore where our assistants, Jim and Carolann, were waiting with towels. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped at the giant Mercadona to pick up some snacks. We spent the evening inside munching on olives and chips while playing Crazy 8’s before happily retiring to our beds after a long day.

Scoob and Dad

hermanito and hermanita in the mar


BFFs for life, obv

On Sunday morning we headed about an hour south to the town of Benidorm. We checked out a market (where Robbie and I held a monkey named Rufus!) and then walked through the town towards the beach. The weather was once again not so beachy, but Robbie and Dad were content to search for some shells while Carolann and I lay down with hopes to get some sun. With rumbling tummies, we found a spot along the boardwalk where we refueled while our bubbly waitress entertained us with her linguistic skills (Spanish, English, German, Dutch…) After lunch Robbie and I napped on our way back to Denia where we stopped for gelato and a walk along the port before checking out some more of Denia’s beaches where Robbie and I (somewhat unintentionally) went swimming despite our lack of bathing suits. With no internet or television, we once again spent our evening playing cards and snacking.

Robbie and Rufus


Robbie releasing some energy and us swimming

We headed towards Denia’s market first thing on Monday morning where we munched on trail mix and dried apricots while browsing the various stands. With freshly purchased souvenirs in hand, we headed towards the central town where we stopped for a quick lunch. After lunch we decided to head inland to the small town of Guadalest. Though only home to 200 people, Guadelest is Spain’s second most popular tourist attraction (the Prado is number one). We stopped a few times on our twisty drive through the mountains for photo ops and snacking with goodies purchased from a roadside stand. Having finally reached our destination, we parked and began with a tour of an old house and the adjoining castle, from the top of which we took in amazing views of the mountains and countryside. After browsing some shops we headed back through the mountains to Denia where we had dinner and dessert by the port. Despite Dad’s snoring, we all tried to get a good night’s sleep for our drive back to Madrid the next morning.

view from the top of the castle


Robbie and I on top of the world

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Vizzle

Lizzles Reunited!

I met my Lizzle at the airport on the evening of Tuesday the 15th. After some "Lizzle!!!!"'s and hugs, we dikdiked our way onto the metro and back to my house. We spent five hours (not quite...) peeling, slicing, and sizzling potatoes (during which I spilled burning oil all down my leg) before finally sitting down to feast on our homemade lizzlemade tortilla espanola. Delicious. After dinner we met up with some of my friends at a bar that was basically an American frat house basement that had been magically transported to Spain. We consumed our fair share of sangria, watched a pretty heated beer pong match, got hit on by every single male in the room, and had two roses purchased for us from our new friend Balil Habibi. Good times.

On Wednesday morning I left Lizzle to wander around my neighborhood while I went to my art history class. Thankfully the tiny lid didn't get lost and we successfully met up afterwards, ran to the grocery store and my favorite fruit stand and made our way to Retiro to picnic. We rented a rowboat, had a mini workout rowing ourselves to the middle of the pond (?) where we promptly dropped our oars and let the wind push us around while we feasted on whole wheat baguettes, perfect strawberries, and white wine juice boxes. Once our 45 minutes of boat time ended we exited the park on Paseo del Prado and stopped quickly in the botanical gardens before I dropped Lizzle off at the Reina Sofia and headed to my history class. After class I picked up Lizzle where I had dropped her and did a quick tour through the Thyssen museum before walking up to Plaza de Cibeles and then Sol. Tired from such a long day, we refueled with some coffee at Cafe Comercial (sadly no McDreamy in sight) and returned home for dinner. We met up with Jess at Manuela Cafe where we had glasses of wine and chocolate cake and played a couple rounds of Scattergories (don't worry Sorgz, it was nothing near the intensity of Scattasorgz). Highlights included Lizzle's use of "turd" and Jess's and my twin moment with "Billy Rae Cyrus." The perfect weather had by this point turned to rain so after a couple hours we dikdiked home and went to sleep.

showing off our muscles

the best smelling flowers in the world

I woke up early and left Lizzle to sleep in while I made another trip to the airport to pick up my Dad, Carolann, and Robbie. We all reunited at Cafe Comercial for breakfast (or a calamari sandwich if you're Lizzle) and then headed to Sol, Plaza Mayor, and walked by Palacio Real, where we paused for a few minutes so that the kids could play on the play structure while the adults took a break from walking (hint: there were 3 kids and 2 adults.) With almost perfect timing, we escaped the sudden rain as we ducked into San Gines for churros con chocolate. My family decided to give into their jet lag induced cravings for a nap and headed back to their hotel while Lizzle and I shopped for a bit on Gran Via. Lizzle and I parted ways for dinner (she went with a friend of Jason's and I ate with my familia) but met up later at Tele Pizza where my friends were shadily pregaming. For some reason Cerveceria Seven was closed to we headed down Fuencarral in search of another bar. Lizzle and I bought one euro cans of beer from some random man in the street and we all ended up in a bar near Tribunal. The bar was a bit dead so Lizzle and I walked south to Sol to go to Palacio which was sadly closed. Though the weather was yucky, we persevered and walked to O'Connel's and Dubliners and then to a small Tapas Cafe. After a few more attempts to find a bar we gave up and hailed a taxi home.

Lizzles during breakfast at Cafe Comercial

in Plaza Mayor

On Friday morning we met up with my family to have breakfast at their hotel and then toured Palacio Real. After jumping around the courtyard and walking through the palace we checked out the adjacent church and then headed to the top floor of Corte Ingles for lunch where there was an old man with hair that stuck straight up. It was amazing. We shopped with the fam for a bit and then returned to Manuela Cafe to play Scattergories and share a pitcher of sangria. Robbie came back to my apartment with me and Lizzle where we both tried on his new soccer uniform and watched some youtube vids before meeting up to go to a Moroccan restaurant where we had an amazing feast complete with pita, hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, and couscous. After dinner, we bid goodnight to my family and ventured out. We started at the cave bar, shared a very strong leche de pantera, and then met up with Stephanie and Melissa and went to a bar with very harsh lighting, very cheap drinks, and very crazy Spaniards. Feeling a little sleepy, we cabbed home, stayed up for a bit, before calling it a night.

me with the fam outside of Palacio

JooJooBee: best nickname ever


I had to wake up early on Saturday morning to reunite with my family for our road trip to the beach (!! next blog post !!) which unfortunately meant saying bye to Lizzle. I woke her up to give her a hug goodbye before cabbing it to my family's hotel and Lizzle woke a few hours later to catch her flight back to the Cope. My Lizzle reunion in Madrid was perfect, just like the form of a leaping dikdik midflight.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

another new born baby blog

I have decided to make a new blog for some non-Madrid goodies. Click me!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

abril en fotos

After much traveling, April has been very relaxing thus far. This past week I was able to take solo trips to the trio of museums as well as a trio of exhibitions that I have wanted to check out for a while. Last Friday I started my day at Casa Asia to check out a selection of the Indian photographer Raghu Rai's black and white photos of India (trio represent) then switched gears completely and saw 22 really cuddly dog portraits by Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg before spending some time in the Thyssen. On Tuesday, despite Maya's demands that I take a nap, I braved the rainy weather and went to the Amazones del Arte Nuevo exhibition the explored the role of female artists in the development of modern art; I saw works by Frida Kahlo, Georgie O'Keefe, and, my new personal favorite, Tamara de Lempicka. Wednesday the Prado: first with Jess after class followed by a slightly painful visit with Selma, my art history teacher during which Jess suppressed urges to "punch her in the back of the head." Yesterday I woke early to go to the Reina Sofia and spend some more time in the really great Picasso exhibit as well as in my favorite room (#3).

This weekend was especially nice, highlights include dancing to the Grease soundtrack at Seven, dinner at Isla del Tesoro, and being uber classy at a wine bar last night. This morning I made my third consecutive trip to the Rastro (lucky me!) and added to my collection of Rastro treasures shown below. My Rastro morning was followed by a great nap and a coffee at Cafe Comercial before yoga class this evening where I really enjoyed "sexy time!", "did something beautiful for my body" and "set myself up for a great week" (all quotes from my instructor, who clearly loves his life). Back to class tomorrow, Lizzle comes on Tuesday, and Dad, Carolann, and Robbie on Thursday. We're off to Alicante this weekend, cross your fingers that it's beach weather.

And now, a run-down of my Rastro treasures (and one vintage treasure) followed by some recent photos.

Rastro treasure #1: embroidered shirt

Rastro treasures #2 and #3: two little elephant charms carved out of bone, they're about the size of my fingernail (Nais one of these is for you!)

Rastro treasure #4: gold necklace with pink and green beads

Rastro treasures #5 and #6: two more shirts

Rastro treasure #7: Moroccan leather bag

close up of the bag, look at the hearts!

Vintage treasure #1: little gold handbag which scored me some compliments from an old man at a Mojito bar last Tuesday...probably because it's from his era ;)

remnants of Miguel's 34th birthday

newly planted flowers outside the Prado

pretty painted clothespin taking care of my MJ skirt

find the abuelita!

I was obsessed with this embroidery on a dress at the Rastro this morning...too bad the dress was pretty frump

women getting vicious over shoes!

two adorable old women who are also regulars at Cafe Comercial photographed two weeks ago; they sit on the same side of the table and alternate between gazing out the window, nodding off, and make tiny lid conversation

woman A takes a nap while woman B is in the bathroom photographed today...same outfits!